May 8 , 2006
New online portal offers window onto women’s research
BY Paige Parvin
What do suicide and HIV prevention programs, poetry about African American soldiers, and Islamic feminist studies have in common? These topics and others can be explored through a new online research portal created by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and accessible through its website.
The research portal (found at www.pcsw.emory.edu/research.htm) was born out of an attempt to “connect the dots” and offer a picture of women’s research taking place at Emory, according to Susan Carini, executive director of Emory Creative Group and junior chair of the PCSW.
Across the University, women are conducting research on matters of special significance to women, but there has been no central resource for information about such female-focused scholarship. The PCSW hopes the portal will offer a new window onto the broad landscape of research by and about women.
The PSCW has set an ambitious goal for itself—to be a nexus for all issues affecting Emory women,” Carini said. “Our members see it as part of our service to the community to have our website be a repository for more than the minutes of our last meeting or our annual report. We charged ourselves with trying to get our arms around the multiplicity of research being done at Emory either by or about women.”
Designed and built by Gordon Boice of Emory Creative Group, the research portal currently offers information about the work of some 13 Emory scholars, whose myriad of projects are described in overviews written by Alec Young ’05C. Subjects range from women’s health—such as Professor of Medicine Nanette Wenger’s work on heart disease in women—to cultural and social issues, such as graduate student Alicia Decker’s study of feminism in Africa.
Its creators hope the portal will quickly expand as additional researchers offer their work for inclusion.
“Our hope is that, as researchers are drawn to the website, new bridges will be created among them, not to mention that we all will be the wiser about the courageous, imaginative research that men and women are doing in areas that concern women,” Carini said.
The purpose of the portal, added Allison Dykes, vice president for alumni affairs and outgoing chair of the PCSW, is twofold: to provide a novel source of information and to allow current women’s research at Emory to shine.
“Through this new research portal, we will both highlight the extraordinary achievements of women at Emory, while providing a valuable source of information and data for all faculty, staff and students,” Dykes said.
PCSW President Nadine Kaslow, chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory psychiatry professor, is one of those researchers whose work is initially featured on the portal. Kaslow founded Grady’s Nia Suicide Prevention Project aimed at at-risk African American women (Nia is a kwanzaa word meaning “purpose”).
“Throughout the University, Emory has many trailblazers in research focused on women, from the arts and sciences to medicine to law. If we pull together all the different research on women, we will have really created a sizeable body of knowledge, much of which has had a significant impact already,” Kaslow said. “This research portal allows our research findings and scholarly inquiry to be conveyed to general public. I think that will enable both other researchers and women themselves to be more empowered.”
Researchers interested in having their work included as part of this growing portal should contact Carini at